Longview cowgirl races into national title
Rodeo: Bradi Whiteside top pole bender at Jr. high finals in Iowa
Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014 06:00 am
There is no substitute for experience on the rodeo circuit.
Longview’s Bradi Whiteside had veteran savvy in her corner as she navigated her way through to a championship buckle in pole bending at the National Junior High School Finals Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa earlier this summer.
“Last year when we went to Gallup, New Mexico I was really nervous,” said Whiteside on her finals experience in 2013. “This year I was still really nervous, but (competing) last year made me a little less nervous knowing what it was like for me.”
The 12-year-old put herself in a great position to win with brisk rounds of 20.4 and 21.0 seconds through the first two-days of competition with the winner being determined on an average time rounded out over the three days. A final round run of 20.5 seconds then sealed the deal in the Hawkeye State.
“Mostly I had to keep my poles up and place in the round,” she said.
Also competing in breakaway roping, Bradi finished in the top-five in the all-around at the international competition featuring over 900 cowboys and cowgirls from Canada, the United States and Australia.
She wasn’t alone for the ride.
Involved in rodeo since the age of two, Bradi was practically born into the sport.
Her father Travis Whiteside is a two-time Canadian pro rodeo champion in bareback (1997) and novice bareback (1991) and older sister Kylie, 14, is a fellow competitor on the circuit.
“It’s quite fun going with the whole family and doing all the events and being there with the family instead of just being there with yourself,” Whiteside said. “(Dad) was a lot of the reason (I started), same as my mom and sister.”
Closer to home and north of the 49th parallel, Whiteside competed at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Nanton last weekend. After a couple mishaps on day-one, she finished with the quickest times on days two and three.
“I hit two poles the first day and the second day I ran a 19.9 and third day a 20.2,” she said.
The family takes a brief respite from the long and winding road of the rodeo campaign before setting course on another season in a few weeks time.
Life on the road is one few of the advantages of the lifestyle for the 12-year-old.
“I just like travelling to rodeos with the different horses,” Bradi said. “Kylie is going into high school this year and I’m still in Junior. Kylie’s (goal) will be making it to nationals in high school rodeo and mine is making it again in Junior.”